Last night I dreamed of Roche aux Fées. The girl I was crawled over the bed of moss beneath the great stones. I stood and blocked the ingress of the winter sun through the passage. I watched my shadow stretch across doorway after doorway of stone, pillars perpetually sheathed in the earth. Great violence planted them there without consent, I thought, thinking of the earth but thinking of myself. Some answer to the question of their purpose came to me then, which I wanted to tell you. You keep asking me about death. I gave you a name I hoped you would follow like your name to find truth in something that changed its shape less. Learn the clockwork of heaven. Lay it across your palm. Study the light. Compile tables of shadows.
When I woke, I grasped for the answer like one madly trying to close one’s hand around an object fallen into water. Remember that you slept in the cave beneath my ribs, bowed my spine but could not break it, and shouldered between your mother’s legs to enter this world. I am immense. When I leave this cell, death’s arms will be too short to hold me. I will become the passage the morning travels through, and never, darling, never further than the end of your alidade.
has work in the Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in print and online journals including 32 Poems, Poems & Plays, and Boxcar Poetry Review. She teaches writing at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee, where she leads a chapter of a national running club for women. "Dear Astrolabe" is one of a series of poems about the seduction of Héloïse d'Argenteuil, the twelfth century abbess and writer, by Peter Abélard.